Wednesday, February 4, 2009

C is for Clamming

One weekend of each month during the fall and winter seasons, the Pacific beaches along the Washington coast are abuzz with folks in hot pursuit of the elusive Siliqua patula or razor clam . It's a traditional family outing for many and unless it's stormy or raining, people are out by the hundreds on the designated beaches clam digging and having fun.

Here on a stretch of beach in North Cove, Washington, my son and I head out to water's edge to dig. On this day of good clamming we had our limit of 15 razors each in about 30 minutes. Sometimes it may take an hour or more to limit and sometimes a limit is not to be had.

After spotting a "show" or small hole in the sand, it's time for quick action getting down a foot or so with a clam shovel or gun (the long metal cylinder) and pulling the clam out with the sand. They can move quickly deeper into the sand so practice makes a difference. And as their name implies their shells are thin, brittle and very sharp.

Our bounty for the day seen here in the kitchen sink is ready to be cleaned and eaten for supper. A light seasoning of salt and pepper and a quick saute' in butter, olive oil and garlic and these little morsels are a seafood lover's delight.
This coming weekend is a three day opening along the designated beaches, so grab your boots and shovel and get out there! Click here for the website with the latest information.


Small City Scenes said...

Oh man, that brought back a flood of memories and happy tummys. My Aunt and Uncle had a place on Hood Canal and we used to clam all the time. Anytime the tide was out and we saw the spitting sand we dug. Kids are like that, ya know.
Hmmmm, I wonder if there was a limit back then? MB

Olivier said...

j'aime beaucoup la première photo, avec les ombres, elle rend superbement bien.
I love the first photo, with the shadows, making it superbly well.

John said...

Very nice and interesting post, Raf. Great choice for the letter.

Nancy said...

Brings back good memories of the Pac. Northwest. Thanks for the great post!

Janie said...

Sounds like fun to go out and catch dinner.
The photos and your description are a great how-to guide.

nonizamboni said...

Great choice for today--sounds like some sandy fun with delicious rewards. The shells are beautiful, by the way.

Tash said...

You guys are GOOD! Very impressive and looks so delicious.
It reminded me of the Walrus & the Carpenter song from Alice in Wonderland (Disney version).
Oh, uh, Oysters, come and walk with us
The day is warm and bright
A pleasant walk
A pleasant talk
Would be a sheer delight
Yes, and should we get hungry on the way
We'll stop and, uh, have a bite?

But Mother Oyster winked her eye
And shook her hairy head
She knew too well
This was no time to leave her Oyster bed
"The sea is nice,
Take my advice
And stay right here," Mum said

Yes, yes, of course, of course, but, uh, ha, ha
The time has come, my little friends
To talk of other things
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings, ha ha
Come, run away
With cabbages and kings!

Well, now, uh, let me see
Ah, a loaf of bread is
What we chiefly need!
Listen, how 'bout some pepper and salt and vinegar, eh?
Well, yes, yes, splendid idea, ha ha!
Very good, indeed
Now, if your ready, Oysters, dear.
We can begin the feed.

Oh, yes, the time has come, my little friends
To talk of food and things
Of peppercorns and mustard seeds
And other seasonings!
We'll mix 'em all together
In a sauce that's fit for kings
We'll eat today
Like cabbages and kings!

I, uh, weep for you. I (hic), oh excuse me
I deeply sympathise
For I've enjoyed your company, oh much more
Than you realize
Little Oysters? Little Oysters?

But answer, there came none
And this was scarcely odd because
They'd been eaten
Every one!

Sorry for the extra-long comment.

Neva said...

How fun is this? great photo....

gogouci said...

It's been several years since we clammed. These photos brought back fond memories and full bellies. Thanks.

Bibi said...

I have never gone clamming, but would love to. I remember as a kid on summer vacations in Atlantic City (before the casinos....)I used to get such a thrill of seeing clams squirt a jet of water up through a hole in the sand. Your clams look yummy, and I bet they were.

Babooshka said...

Beautiful, interesting and fabulous. They topshot is a real knockout.

Jim said...

I would go out and catch them with you but not sure I would eat any. I like to eat things that say MOOO.

raf said...

The verse is wonderful, Tash. Thanks for posting it! Had to smile as I was remembering how many times I used those four lines, "The time has come....of cabbages and kings" while trying to gain a little attention from the kids when they were small.

alice said...

I've loved to read this post, Raf! Many, many people here are champions for digging holes in the sand and bringing back clams (not exactly the same ones than yours, tho)and cockles. We must organize an exchange and an event between Port Towsend and Arradon!

raf said...

Thank you, Alice, I like your thinking. When shall we begin? :)

Dragonstar said...

I didn't comment here earlier - don't know why! I found this fascinating. I've heard of clam-digging, but I never knew what the clams were (obviously not the giant clams I used to see on underwater films!) Now you've educated me, thank you.

diXymiss said...

Y is for Yum! (especially that bit about sauteeing in butter, olive oil and garlic) drool...